Our Italian Summer
Our Italian Summer
“Our Italian Summer,” by Jennifer Probst is not to be confused with “One Italian Summer,” by Rebecca Serle. While both books have to do with Italy during the summer time and has the theme about family and what not they are both two separate plots. In “Our Italian Summer,” three generations of women go on a trip to Italy as a much needed trip to save their family. Sophia the matriarch is suffering health problems and doesn’t like how distant her daughter and granddaughter Francesca and Allegra are from each other. Francesca is the stereotypical career obsessed workaholic who doesn’t have all her priorities straight. Allegra Francesca’s daughter and Sophia’s granddaughter is mixed up in the wrong crowd and gets arrested with them. Sophia wants her family to learn to depend on one another and to learn there are more important things in life before it’s too late. Honestly I wanted to love this it had things I liked in it but it turned me off.
I really enjoy the setting of Italy obviously. I do like the character of Enzo who we know will play a big part in the story. I also like Sophia the grandmother of course. I also think this story had a lot of potential about family and how we shouldn’t take them for granted. I also like that the main characters are telling their story in first person instead of third person narrative.
Unfortunately there’s a lot to talk about what I didn’t like. While I like Sophia’s character all of the characters seemed like card board stereotypical cut outs. Francesca is extremely obnoxious and the most unlikeable characters toward the end that is. What also doesn’t make sense is Francesca is sad that Allegra didn’t have her grandfather in her life, but she doesn’t feel too guilty about not having her father in her life since she was pregnant through artificial insemination. Allegra is the stereotypical teen who hangs out with the wrong crowd of people and constantly feels stressed that she has to live up to her mother’s expectations. I also hate the other stereotype when Allegra spoke to her friend David after seeing The Vatican, that David was basically bashing religion. Anymore it seems like a lot of books like to stereotype all young people in Gen Y and Gen Z both into being either atheist or spiritual but not religious. I’m almost thirty and I’m a devout Catholic. The novel also felt predictable like something Hallmark would play on their channel. While Hallmark does have good content anymore you can guess what’s going to happen and repetition gets old after a while.
Overall the novel had great potential. I think if the characters weren’t written to be card board stereotypes I would have liked it better. It’s not the worst book ever but it wasn’t the best. I do want to read Probst’s recent book “The Secret Love Letters of Olivia Moretti,” and see if I like it better.